Robbie Maltby

March 19, 2021

[Part 3] Starting a business

So far we’ve uncovered Why we do things and distilled a theme from our lists.

Next up we want to see if our idea has any traction.

Now you could go away and spend a ton of time building a product, a website, and creating lots of ad campaigns, but let’s leave that for now.

We want to spend the least amount of time possible to get a ‘signal’ that our idea has legs.

As obvious as this sounds, we want to start by articulating the idea.

This will help clarify our thoughts, and give us a head start on our story and messaging.

Here’s what to do:

Create a Dossier

Using a blank piece of paper, note down everything you can think of that relates to your business idea.

Write in high level summary form. At this stage, you just want to have everything out of your mind so you can see it all.

Mindmaps are good for this kind of thing, so use them if you like, but blank paper and pens work fine.

Write a Manifesto

A good way to think about this is to write as clearly and concisely as possible, as if you were explaining it to someone sitting next to you on the train.


  • Why you are thinking about taking this particular business idea forward
  • What you are going to create
  • Who it is for

Never mind about the How at this stage. You’ll probably have to go through a few iterations before you start on that.

Aim for between 1-2K words. Take your time on this, a few hours at least, but don’t spend all day trying to make it perfect.

This is going to be a working document that will change (often significantly) as you receive feedback, so save your energy for the remaining stages 😉

Name it

Nothing exists without a name, and no one knows what you’re writing about without something to refer to.

I’ve written about a writing practice that can really help here. It encourages lateral thinking, which will help disengage your thinking mind and help you tap into your subconscious.

You’re looking for something descriptive to begin with. You can always change it later.

Send to 10 people you trust

If you can get 10 people excited about a business idea, you might well have a shot.

Create your manifesto on Google docs so you can solicit in-line feedback and comments from multiple people at once.

Make sure people know you want constructive, but honest feedback.

Ask for comments within a set period of time, say 7-10 days, then follow up with each person individually to dig a little deeper outwith the group setting.

Be humble, and don’t get upset if people don’t like what you’ve written. This is a process, it’s not meant to be over quickly, and it’s not necessarily meant to be all that enjoyable - yet!

Treat the people with respect, and they may even become your First, ten.


Next up, how to test your idea with a wider audience 👏

About Robbie Maltby

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